Ontario drivers who own their cars are required to purchase auto insurance. Having insurance coverage is important because it protects Ontario drivers and passengers who may be injured in car, bus or truck accidents. Ontario has a no-fault system, which means that regardless of who caused the motor vehicle accident, the driver's own car insurance company pays for the medical expenses/treatments incurred as a result of the collision. Further, an injured driver can also make a claim for other benefits such as:
- income continuation benefits,
- attendant care benefits, and
• reimbursement for housekeeping and home maintenance.
When Ontario drivers purchase car insurance policies, most drivers buy the "standard" policy, which has a default amount set for each type of benefit the driver may receive. For example, there is a set amount an injured driver can claim from his own car insurance company for medical and rehabilitation benefits depending on the injuries sustained.
A driver who sustains a minor injury can claim up to $3,500 of medical and rehabilitation benefits. A driver who sustains a non-minor injury can claim up to $50,000 of medical and rehabilitation benefits. Finally, a driver who sustains catastrophic injuries can claim up to $1,000,000 of medical and rehabilitation benefits.
What are Optional Accident Benefits?
Optional accident benefits are additional benefits or add-ons drivers can purchase for their car insurance policies for an additional cost. Driver can purchase optional benefits for income replacement benefits or medical and rehabilitation benefits.
For example, the income replacement benefit an injured driver can receive is $400 per week in a "standard" policy. For a driver who is the breadwinner of the family with 3 kids, that is hardly enough to pay the monthly mortgage, car payment, food, school tuition, etc. Therefore, drivers may increase that benefit from $600 to $1,000 per week.
Medical and rehabilitation benefits can be increased as well. For non-minor injuries, the benefits can be increased to $100,000 and as high as $1,100,000. Benefits for catastrophic injuries can be increased up to $2,000,000. However, if you have a minor injury, you will not receive more than the standard $3,500 despite having bought extra coverage.
In addition, drivers can purchase optional benefits that a "standard" policy does not offer, such as housekeeping benefits, which is paying someone to do your housework if you cannot after an accident, and caregiver benefits, which is paying someone to take care of your children or other dependents if you no longer are able to after the accident.
Should You Buy Optional Insurance?
Yes. Before Ontario insurance law was changed in 2010, injured drivers received a lot more benefits from their car insurance companies. After Ontario changed its car insurance law, "standard" medical and rehabilitation benefits were reduced by half for serious injuries. In addition, though Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is the first line of medical coverage before your car insurance kicks in, there are many medical services not covered by OHIP. The costs for these treatments add up quickly. Having additional coverage may spare you from the financial stress of not having enough insurance coverage.
Help Making a Claim with Your Car Insurance Company After a Car Accident
When you make a claim with your car insurance company, it is most likely your first time. However, the insurance company has processed probably 100s or 1000s of claims. You want to make sure you are receiving the maximum benefits from your car insurance company. Talk to a Kingston or Ottawa car accident injury lawyer to help you through the claims process. The lawyers at Bergeron Clifford will make sure you receive the benefits you are entitled to. Call 1-866-384-5886 to schedule a FREE consultation.